Older News  » “Big school” for four-year-olds

Last updated 8:03 AM on 13 March 2014

Big school for four year olds

Every week 50 bright-eyed children turn up for "lessons" at Bourke Public School.

The children are four-year-olds taking part in a unique school transition program, where they go to "big school" two days a week and to a local preschool for another two days.

The Early Years Transition Centre at Bourke Public School, established through the Connected Communities Early Years Infrastructure Initiative, is staffed by teachers, a teacher's aide and an Aboriginal education officer. It has all the hallmarks of school and introduces the children to the social and educational routines that will be expected when they start Kindergarten.

The Executive Principal of Bourke Public School, Kylie Pennell, said the centre was established to ensure that children were ready for school when they started Kindergarten.

Some children in the past had not attended preschool and were unfamiliar with school. Others had special learning or health needs that took time to diagnose once school started.

The transition centre has a strong focus on early intervention, with vision and hearing checked and occupational therapy and speech pathology available.

"This way when the children start Kindergarten they can start learning from day one," Miss Pennell said.

The students quickly become familiar with school routines, like the bells ringing at 9am and 3pm, and they take part in events such as Harmony Day and the Easter Hat Parade along with the 220 students at Bourke Public School.

"We just saw the need and it has had a real snowball effect," Miss Pennell said. "The community think it's a great program."

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